Category Archives: Learning Community

Learning in Organizations Community

mastheadTwo years ago I set up a Google Group on Learning. Last night I wrote the members:

You’re one of 1,797 members of the Learning in Organizations Community on Google Plus.

Since its founding two years ago, our community has morphed into a place to post wisdom, schlock, and self-boosterism. Some days you get lucky and discover a gem in the flow; other days you don’t find anything worth your time.

We can make a lot more out of what we’ve started here if we like. (We’ve been around longer than most Silicon start-ups.)

For example, this is a spot where you can ask questions and seek advice. Why not? Our group’s intimate. We’ll always be a safe place to float new trial balloons out of the limelight

We can help one another find things. You might get the real skinny on a vendor, an event, or a service by talking with someone who knows them from experience. As we grow to trust one another, we will form deeper relationships. Maybe. At least it wouldn’t hurt to post a few questions and see what happens.

We need not continue to be just a place to read funky articles. The network will come to life when some of us use it as a springboard and become connected by phone and skype to start changing the world together. Google makes it easy to set up a Hangout from within the Community.

We would benefit from a larger, more diverse membership. Free thinkers. People on the thin end of the Long Tail. Please promote us on your streams.

Finally, please contribute to the community if you’re good at that type of thing. You got great ideas and stories? Post them. Please share your most exciting, zany projects. You show me yours; I’ll show you mine.

If you have suggestions, post them right here. We are an open community. I’m cutting the balloons loose.

jay

P.S.

Please join us. people

Project Aha!

Aha! is a set of practices I’m developing to help pull-workers learn to learn. I’m investigating what it takes for a learner to become self-sufficient, to both learn and design learning experiences. I’d like to make that easier.

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My bookshelves groan under more than 200 books on learning and development. (I’ve recycled many to get down to this.) They contain studies of learning from the frameworks of design, teaching, networks, tech, brain science, and positive psychology. How many books look at learning from the point of view of the learner? None that I know of. Nada. It’s time to design some self-help.

As corporations flatten and digitize, millions of people are being handed responsibility for their own learning, by plan or by default. Corporations that decentralize often leave people to sink or swim. Learning — that ultimate competitive advantage in a fast-changing world — is too important to leave to chance any longer. Besides, learning can be a fulfilling, nourishing aspect of work; folks need to know how to make the best of it.

As business grows ever more complex, fast, and confusing, the quality of learning must increase. Learning professionals know a lot about ideal conditions for learning and what blend of things works when. Rarely have they shared this wisdom with the greater enterprise community. Hence, there are a number of opportuities to tweak how people learn that can have profound changes in the level of “working smarter.” It’s virgin territory. Sharing the wisdom surrounding learning with the people who need it. It can be a game changer.

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Put yourself in the shoes of someone who has just been told she’s responsible for her own learning. It’s like the dog that got on the bus: Now what do I do? I want to give her a helping hand and a few directions. (My monkey mind just whispered in my ear: Make it a comic book. Who knows.) I want this person to leverage networks, learn with the work team, and have a personal strategy for acquiring, interpreting, acting on, and storing knowledge.

People are becoming forced to act as their own instructional designers, plotting the best personal knowledge strategies and routines. This requires some of adult learning theory’s secret sauce, which we propose to boil down and include in our kit.

In 1978, I remember seeing my first copy of Training magazine and soon thereafter turning on to the work of instructional pioneers like Robert Mager, Gloria Gery, Malcolm Knowles, Joe Harless, and Ron Zemke. It was all new to me. I wasn’t aware there was an entire training industry. We didn’t deal with this when I went to Business School. Instructional design? Never heard of it. Nor have most business executives, and that’s an obstacle. They don’t yet understand the enormous impact of amping up learning in the workplace.

Before I saw that Training magazine, I’d been designing a large instructional system in the dark: I hadn’t been aware of the vast amount of evidence on learning the instructional design community had assembled. (I was a former computer salesman and Army officer.) I led a team that created 120 hours of interactive exercises to teach business and management skills. Design was 100% gut feel and watching what worked. Out of ignorance, I made a number of things less fun and more arduous than need be. That was a 1.0 curriculum, the adult students loved it, but I still feel negligent just knowing how much more it could have meant to them. A thousand people in the Bay Area took that course in the first 18 months; I’m sorry we could not have helped them learn more. Were I to do something like this again, I’d be able to take an enlightened approach. I want to share that how-to with workers everywhere.

The obscurity of Instructional Design outside of the L&D community compels me to provide a brief orientation to ID and a minimalist take on how to use it as part of building learn-to-learn skills.

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I plan to write an eBook on learning for learners. Later this may morph into a playlist of experiential exercises; that generally works a lot better than books. But I have to start by pinning down the subject matter and examples.

This will be a Lean Start-Up. I plan to hammer out version 1.0 of the book mercilessly and a little Gonzo. I’ll price it cheap. If learners, not training departments, buy it, I’ll add research, collect the best examples, take polls, spiff it up, and continuously refresh the book.

What’s with the Aha!? I needed a short name for this project. Aha! is the sound of enlightenment. It’s what I hope to hear from the people who learn to learn.

I am open to collaboration on this project. If you’ve got something that works or suggestions, let’s talk.

Who’s the best at helping their people learn?

Do you know of anybody who has tackled preparing independent learners to master complex subjects?

I’ve opened a community on Google+ for articles and discussion. In the spirit of Working Smarter, I intend to work out loud on Aha! Please join in the shouting.

 

 

 

 

 

My 13th Online Educa Berlin

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Why Online Educa Berlin is just so damn much fun! writes Donald Clark. I couldn’t agree more, so I won’t repeat him. Online Educa is 20 years old. This was my 13th time.

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Me, on the right, attending the Jazz Age party at Educa.

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The Christmas Market at the Europa Center

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The Kurfurstendamm in lights

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Howard Rheingold, outside the former Stasi headquarters. Inside, an extensive exhibit on the Gestapo.

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Stephen Downes makes a great case for personal (not personalized) learning.

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Howard Rheingold is a champion of co-learning. Take a look at Peeragogy.

Online Educa is a crossroads for divergent ideas. (People from 100 countries attend.) I’ll be documenting some of the things I learned in the weeks ahead.

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Pals

#JAYCROSS #ITASHARE  #OEB14

Find out what’s going on beyond your borders

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If you want to learn what’s going on in learning and development worldwide, join me in Berlin this December for Online Educa.

You’ll connect with colleagues from a hundred countries!

This is the 20th anniversary of this forum of thought leaders in business, education, and government.

Is it worth it? I certainly think so. This will be my tenth Educa.

 

 

#ITASHARE

Doug Engelbart, we salute you!

Doug Engelbart
This evening in Palo Alto a group of us in mourning for Doug Engelbart took part in an X-game to celebrate his values and, we hope, carry them far, far, far into the future. A tiny fraction of the time capsule:

When Doug was a young man, he staked out his mission and despite all odds, he never wavered. His vision was audaciously grand, so the cards aren’t played out yet, but his unwavering dedication is beyond awesome.

Moore’s Law should really be known as Engelbart’s Law. (Moore once said so himself.) Doug made us appreciate scaling.

For Doug, connecting hearts and minds was the obvious way to augment human intellect. Bill Gates (“A pc on every desk”) and Steve Jobs (closed Mac) didn’t get it. Neither did most of us until the internet spewed it in our faces. Doug’s office was one of the original two nodes.

Doug, we’re working to keep your flame alive.

Doug Engelbart
Photo by Bill Daul

The Masterclass on Informal Learning

Your organization has decided to tilt in the direction of informal learning. Colleagues tell you that it can be faster, better, and cheaper than traditional approaches. You need to satisfy increasing demands with reduced staff and budget. You’re concerned that your current offerings will not satisfy the new generation of workers. So now what do you do?

Two options

1. Masterclass for L&D managers, instructional designers, and senior instructors on the concept and implementation of informal learning.  This is generally a one-half or one-day onsite engagement with thirty to forty people.

2. Retreat for CLOs, HR directors, planners, and policy makers on the philosophy of informal learning, the change management process required to support it, and the corporate culture that fosters its success. Two or three managers spend two days at the Internet Time Lab in Berkeley, California, in a heavily personalized experience.

What’s covered?

Here’s an overview of the topics from recent Masterclasses.

What is the organization’s primary goal?
How well are you preparing people for the future needs of  the organization?

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Introduction to informal learning. Push vs. pull. The spectrum. How to recognize it in its many forms.

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A dive into 70:20:10 as an example of informal, experiential learning.

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A dose of my philosophies of what matters in life and learning.

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We talk about how schooling is the wrong model for organizational learning and discourage using schoolish vocabulary.

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From this foundation, we explore communities of practice, capturing and disseminating news, knowledge sharing at Intel, experiential learning at Xerox, conversation at HP, volunteerism at SAP, Twitter at Deloitte, product knowledge at BT, and learning from microblogs. We also address implementation and values at a large company rollout, curation as learning, and creating the business case in several different industries.

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702010 Forum - 10 point approach to implementation (2)

Depending on the level of the group, we may apply the 10-step implementation program from the 702010Forum.

Recent Masterclasses and Retreats

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We recently conducted half-day Masterclasses at the WorldBank (above) and Dutch high-tech company Ordina (below).

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Senior managers and strategists attended a two-day management planning retreat at the Internet Time Lab earlier this year.

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Members of the Internet Time Alliance may join us virtually or in person during a retreat. In this case, Harold Jarche and I joined forces to help this team launch an expansive nationwide educational arm for a major non-profit.

haroldTo maintain quality, I offer no more than four Internet Time Lab Retreats per year.

 

#ITASHARE

195 posts about MOOCs

wsd

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GEORGE SIEMENS

JUNE 3, 2012

What is the theory that underpins our moocs?

If you’re even casually aware of what is happening in higher education, you’ve likely heard of massive open online courses (MOOCs).

GEORGE SIEMENS

JULY 25, 2012

MOOCs are really a platform

We can officially declare massive open online courses (MOOCs) as the higher education buzzword for 2012. MOOCs are a platform.

14 Articles on MOOCs

mooc

Size Isn’t Everything – Cathy Davidson – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Wired UK raises the possibility that the university may have to restructure itself. That undoubtedly will raise numerous hackles. But from an intellectual standpoint, it signals a revolution in waiting. Forbes, on the other hand, touts the financial promise of investments in MOOC’s and other digital educational offerings. Entrepreneurs and college administrators are already heeding that Continue reading 14 Articles on MOOCs